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CD-RW drives with IDE interface (part V)

December 21, 2000



CD-RW drives with 12/10/32 speeds become more and more popular. And today we will consider more samples with high write/rewrite speed. The Iomega ZipCD drive popped in here because, first, this recorder is not known quite well. Some might even not know that Iomega company beside magneto-optic devices such as Zip or Jaz sells under its logo also CD-RW drives. And secondly, testing this 8x device together with 12x one can clear up the difference between these two generations.

The testing procedure remains the same (considering the changes made in the fourth part).

So, meet our contestants.

Creative CD-RW Blaster RW121032E

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

Test results

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Transfer Rate

In order to have something to compare with, in read operations we have chosen (beside CD-ROM Teac 540E) a native recorder Plextor PX-W1210TA.

Well... That is what we expected. The results just prove the drives to be "relatives". CD-ROM Teac is beyond the competition, but it's still a CD-ROM.

Well, a little different situation. CD-ROM Teac is still an absolute leader. And as for the recorders, the Iomega is in front, though just a little. TDK and Creative show identical results and Plextor loses this battle and by a great margin.

The CPU utilization was:

Iomega ZipCD loads the processor when transmitting data most of all. The results of the Creative, TDK and Plextor don't differ much.

CDWinBench 99 CD-ROM Access Time

The Creative RW121032E, TDK CDRW121032 and Plextor PX-W121032TA have exceeded the rated values not too much, and the Iomega showed even much better results.

CDWinBench 99 CPU Utilization

Surprisingly the highest CPU utilization was shown by the Plextor, the recorders Creative and TDK lagged a bit behind. The Iomega took an average position winning a bit over the Plextor PX-W121032TA. And the TEAC CD-540E showed the results proportional to its performance, that is the highest CPU utilization.

Recording time

For better comparison we have taken another CD-RW drive with maximum record speed 8X - NEC NR-7500A.

Recording of the normal quality disc (maximum record speed)

A small difference between the TDK, Creative and Plextor drives can be explained by the fact that the recorders TDK and Creative are equipped with the record program Nero Burning Rom, and the Plextor - with WinOnCD 3.7. Considering the other sides, I should recognize that the Iomega hasn't lagged behind the NEC NR-7500A by a great margin.

Recording of the low quality disc (4x)

There you can see that the new generation drives at low speeds record discs faster than their rivals. Our trio keep together, with the slightest difference in marks.

Formatting time of CD-RW in UDF format

Philips CD-RW 4x

As I have already mentioned, with the Creative RW121032E we used the program Prassi abCD what caused such strange results. Excluding these results I should say that the most efficient here turned to be the NEC recorder. A bit behind was the Plextor and at last came TDK (by a small margin). The loser was the Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A arriving 2 minutes later.

Ricoh 10x disc

With the help of the Prassi abCD you can format CD-RW disc really faster but there might occur some unpleasant things listed in the description of this drive. Considering the other sides the Plextor performed a bit smarter than his closest rival - the TDK drive that turned to be the last in this test.

CD-RW (UDF) record

Philips CD-RW 4x

Did it make any sense for Creative to be in such a hurry formatting the CD-RW if it lagged behind the nearest competitor by more than 10 minutes? The NEC recorder bore the palm in this test, though the TDK and the Plextor were just a little retarded. The Iomega is in the group of losers with 2 minute delay.

Ricoh 10x disc

And again, the Creative falls back here… The TDK and the Plextor go side by side, though note that the TDK usually wins a couple of seconds over the Plextor.

BLER factor for the recorded CD-Rs of high quality

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
BLER factor
3-7
10-13
3-5

BLER factor for the recorded CD-Rs of low quality

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
BLER factor
15-20
39-44 (60, 80)
11-17

(for this test we used the device considered in the fifth part of our review)

Nothing unexpected. The results of the Creative and TDK are a bit higher than that of the analog Plextor. The ZipCD showed the results similar to the ASUSTeK, but for one thing: on the disc recorded by the Iomega there were sometimes leaps up to 60, 80.

Graphs of reading of recorded CD (normal quality). CDTest 99

In order to see graphs of other drives refer to first four parts of our review on CD-RW drives with IDE interface.

Creative RW121032E

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

Graphs of reading of normal quality CDs recorded using Burn-Proof technology (CDTest 99)

Creative RW121032E

The technology is not supported Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

Graphs of reading of recorded CD (low quality). CDTest99

Creative RW121032E

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

December 21, 2000



The green line is a reading speed (left scale), the yellow one is a disc rotation speed, thousand rpm (right scale).

The graphs of reading for the TDK and the Creative are practically identical (what is no wonder considering their internal similarity). Iomega reads discs a bit different; on a graph for low quality CD you can notice a clear fall approximately in the middle of the disc. Interestingly that similar things occur on many cyanine discs of so called "noname-manufacturers" which were written on this recorder. Nevertheless, the drive achieves the maximum speed to the end of the discs almost always, like here (the graph couldn't reach the announced 32X, only 30X). Good discs are read by the Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A without any problems reaching the maximum speed long before the last sectors.

Besides, we paid some attention to already familiar technology "Burn-Proof". We used the tried method: simultaneous load and active switch between the applications Photoshop 5.5 + CorelDraw 9.0. Similar to the previous case, indication of buffer load was shown zero about 8-9 seconds. After complete loading of the applications the buffer started filling and the recorder completed its work. As you can see in this case the graph looks much better, quite similar to that of the disc recorded by a normal way on the both drives.

CD Speed 99 test results of the recorded CDs (normal quality)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Average
24.98x
24.66x
25.01x
Random Seek
130 ms
88 ms
138 ms
SpinUp Time
2.38 sec
5.26 sec
2.41 sec
SpinDown Time
3.75 sec
3.50 sec
3.70 sec
Disc Eject Time
1.30 sec
0.78 sec
1.33 sec
Disc Load Time
1.26 sec
0.32 sec
1.30 sec
Disc Recognition Time
9.67 sec
8.87 sec
9.86 sec

CD Speed 99 testing results of the recorded CDs (low quality)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Average
25.09x
24.02x
25.09x
Random Seek
135 ms
88 ms
141 ms
SpinUp Time
2.38 sec
5.26 sec
2.36 sec
SpinDown Time
3.60 sec
3.60 sec
3.53 sec
Disc Eject Time
1.30 sec
0.77 sec
1.34 sec
Disc Load Time
1.28 sec
0.31 sec
1.32 sec
Disc Recognition Time
10.59 sec
8.55 sec
9.79 sec

CD Quality Check test results of the 4x recorded CD-RW (UDF)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Read speed
9.56
n/a
14.07

CD Quality Check test results of the 10x recorded CD-RW (UDF)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Read speed
10.11
n/a
13.48

CD Quality Check test results of the 4x recorded CD-RW (ISO)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Read speed
15.28
n/a
18.12

Unfortunately, the recorder Iomega is not fully supported by the program CDSpeed, that's why we failed to compare it with its rivals - the TDK and the Creative. In this test the TDK demonstrated much smarter results than the Creative RW121032E. But such terrible difference is likely explained by the different programs used for formatting and recording in packet mode.

Quality of the recorded CDs of normal quality (CD Quality Check)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Read speed
23.74
n/a
23.78
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.73
18.61
18.77

Quality of the recorded CDs of low quality (CD Quality Check)

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Read speed
23.75
n/a
23.85
Read speed (TEAC CD-540E)
18.76
18.33
18.75

*n/a - measurement failed.

Again we have no opportunity to compare the drive Iomega ZipCD with the other. The Creative and the TDK performed quite well.

Quality of the recorded CDs of normal quality (CD-ROM Drive Analyzer)

Creative RW121032E

Graph of reading

Graph of reading (TEAC CD-540E)

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

Graph of reading

Graph of reading (TEAC CD-540E)

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

Graph of reading

Graph of reading (TEAC CD-540E)

Quality of the recorded CDs of normal quality (CD-ROM Drive Analyzer)

Creative RW121032E

Graph of reading

Graph of reading (TEAC CD-540E)

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

Graph of reading

Graph of reading (TEAC CD-540E)

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

Graph of reading

Graph of reading (TEAC CD-540E)

I think there is no sense to concentrate on practically identical graphs of reading of the Creative and the TDK. The graphs of the Iomega is very close to that of the drive from ASUSTeK. The only difference is that the ASUSTeK CRW-0804F has more even graphs. That is, the Iomega reads at the same speed but more stable and without rough vibration and leaps.

The CD-ROM TEAC CD-540E showed rather stable graphs (but for a bit decrease in speed to the disc edge practically in all cases).

Extraction of audio tracks from Audio CDs (CDDAE 99)

Piano Favorites :

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Average extraction speed
20.5
6.4
20.6
Total errors:*
18.27%
24.13%
7.38%

Acoustic Planet vol.2 :

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Average extraction speed
13.7
6.9
14.1
Total errors:*
23.16%
12.45%
22.68%

Bloodhound Gang "Greatest Hits" :

Drive Creative RW121032E Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A TDK CyClone CDRW121032
Average extraction speed
21.6
8.5
21.7
Total errors:*
0.00%
0.00%
0.00%

* - 7.44% means that the drive extracted 7.44% of the CD with errors.

You might notice that the ASUSTeK ensured quite low error percentage being at rather high speed - 8X. The Iomega implemented the test a bit worse: the faded speed together with great amount of errors. The TDK and the Creative performed better, and with quite similar results we should point to the TDK CyClone CDRW121032 as the best in speed and error percentage.

Copying from recorded CDs to the hard drive

This test is aimed to obtain just proper information, do not take it the first that influences drive's performance. Since the disc structure is nonuniform and compound, the results were low even for 32x devices.

Copying of normal quality CD

The Creative and the TDK go quite close leaving the Iomega too far behind. Though, 30 seconds might not be "too".

Copying of low quality CD

Well, quite close picture to the previous one but for the Creative RW121032E that leaped over the TDK.

Reading of damaged CDs

Creative RW121032E

"Golden" CD:

Scratched:

The golden disc reads well, but considering the scratched one leaves much to be desired… With the first proper error the drive downed the speed to 4X, without any further raise.

70% of the damaged disc were read.

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

"Golden" disc:

Scratched:

No difficulties in reading of the golden one at 10X. Nothing sad we can say on the next case: the speed was falling and then growing back, the amplitude was not so great. But what did you expect from the 10X speed?

65% of the damaged disc were read.

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

"Golden" disc:

Scratched:

The golden one reads excellent. Look at the graph for the scratched disc. What has caused such a saw? In the end the drive gave up and went on at 4X. Note that at this speed it has read much smaller part than the Creative.

Resume

Creative RW121032E

This recorder practically in all cases goes side by side with the Plextor PX-W1210A. It's quite difficult to estimate the drive in terms of quality and functionality in the packet record mode without a support of better, in my opinion, software from Adaptec (it concerns only packet record). But considering other sides, the work of the device creates pleasant impression: 20-22X average extraction speed, good reading quality, high and qualitative record speed. The Burn-Proof technology takes all your trouble concerning buffer emptiness. The drive is fully supported by the program CloneCD with all its goodies.

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

Alike its brother ASUSTeK, this drive keeps the middle all the time. It deserves hot praising only for a stable work as a CD-ROM drive. The buffer works well, when recording the load usually constituted 99-100%. Rather small track extraction speed, and considering high error percentage, I won't advise you to pay attention to ZipCD in order to solve such problems.

When booting the program CloneCD, the computer buzzed. This happened not only on this machine: we tried it on the AMD Athlon and the Intel Pentium III.

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

"High-speed drive" - it says everything. High and quality record speed in all modes, perfect read quality, high track extraction speed together with just a little errors, the Burn-Proof technology, full support of read/write in RAW mode, and at last comes an original design. What else to become a top?

Conclusion

Creative RW121032E

Low price (as comparing to the equivalent Plextor), perfect functional possibilities of the recorder and wide availability. If you are going to buy it right now, better wait until wider support from companies. It will allow you to choose a program to your taste and prevent any problems concerning packet record of CD-RWs.

Iomega ZipCD 1024INT-A

It's challenging to find the ZipCD widely available. It's quite an average CD-RW drive in terms of writing and reading. Considering all this I assume that the price is a bit too high.

It mainly suit those who appreciate everything rare and stylish, who don't need fast record of CD-Rs, don't use often packet mode and track extraction is just secondary issue.

TDK CyClone CDRW121032

Well, it's an undoubted leader in our tests. At the moment we can't provide you with the price for this device, but in any case, don't be afraid buying it, you won't be disappointed.

Test programs:


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